Ukraine International Airlines Is Getting 777s

Filed Under: Ukraine

Last year I flew Ukraine International Airlines from Kiev to New York. The airline has extremely attractive business class pricing to just about all their destinations, which is why I’ve been so interested in the airline.

Well, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the experience. While Ukraine International Airlines had plenty of legroom in business class on their 767s, the seats were super narrow, the flight was delayed by about four hours, and the the food wasn’t very good.

At least I wasn’t in economy — Ukraine International Airlines is one of only a couple of airlines to have eight seats per row in 767 economy, which is such a tight squeeze.

Presently the airline has a fleet of four Boeing 767s that they use for their longhaul flights, though I’ve been hearing for a while that they have plans to expand by adding more planes to their longhaul fleet. Airline executives tend to be big talkers, so I didn’t read too much into it at the time.

Well, it looks like this is really happening. Airlineroute notes that Ukraine International Airlines will be introducing Boeing 777-200 flights to New York as of March 25, 2018, and to Beijing as of May 1, 2018.

These are pretty dense 777-200s, with 21 business class seats and 319 economy class seats. Based on the seatmap, it looks like business class consists of three rows, in a 2-3-2 configuration. While I don’t love the middle seat in business class, here’s to hoping it’s an all around better business class product than what they have now.

Even though the configuration will be 3-4-3 in economy, that might actually still be more spacious than the 2-4-2 configuration they have on their 767s.

There’s not much information out there about where they’ll be getting these 777s. Wikipedia suggests that UIA is getting their 777-200s from Air India, which is based on this Dutch article. I’m not sure how accurate that is, though.

Other media reports I’ve seen suggest that UIA will take delivery of a total of four 777s next year, and that they plan on retiring their fleet of 767s in 2019, meaning that at least in the short term they should be expanding a bit. The airline is apparently considering adding flights to Toronto and Shanghai as well.

I can’t wait to definitively see where UIA is getting their 777s, as I sure am intrigued. Hopefully their business class product is better than on the 767s, and hopefully they have entertainment at each seat, rather than just the overhead monitors they have on their 767s.

Given their great business class fares, I’d love to try them again once they get 777s.

  1. Is it maybe possible that they aquired some old Emirates planes or United planes?
    There you have this Business configuration…

  2. Hope it’s not wet lease as they do on KBP – BKK (with A340) because it’s even worst then flying with them… Anyway even if they got 777, it will be the same story than the one with their “new” 738… they are not brand new and they go crazy on the interior configuration : cheapest everything / and more seats the better…
    I’m premium with them because for some routes i don’t have choice but i could write a book on how bad they are in operations…

  3. Getting the 77L’s from OrenAir. OrenAir’s business looks terrible, old recliners… but it was only two rows. The a/c is in AMS for refitting.

  4. You forgot (?!) to mention that they are the only airline crossing the Atlantic who offers business class seats in a non angle/flat bed fashion. Of course the price is attractive, coz the product sucks

  5. @ moshe1k — I don’t believe that’s true. At a minimum, Meridiana also doesn’t have an angled or flat business product across the Atlantic.

  6. 2/3/2 is not that bad in my opinion, depends on the airline though. Turkish Airlines also has this configuration in J, just don’t select the middle seat and its fine. I always had nice conversations with my neighbor in the past, yes its not that private, but I prefer a better soft product than hard product.

  7. Speaking of Turkish, for the life of me I don’t understand why they have such an inferior business-class seating configuration when the rest of their product is quite good.

  8. @FNT Delta Diamond – If you look at it objectively 2-3-2 in J is not terrible if fully flat as it isn’t space efficient like reverse herringbone/staggered etc. Best J class IMO is QR non Qsuites 777 with 2-2-2 seating.

  9. I wonder if UIA has room to expend, as the number 1 destination for flights out of Ukraine – Russia – is gone since 2014 and the airline already control total majority of traffic in KBP and Ukraine in General (for sure after Aerosvit collapsed). Now days they seem of offer mostly super cheap connections, how much more place to expend they have? Flights to the far east significantly longer on UIA as they can’t fly over Russia

  10. @moshe1k: You can add Icelandair to the list of airlines with transatlantic service without flat beds as well.

  11. Hand me downs from air India?
    Not good enough for air India but an upgrade UIA?
    How do you put a price on dangerous?

  12. @Jonathan
    You’d be surprised, but after ending flights to/over Russia in 2015, UIA business has been booming at the pace rarely seen anywhere else.
    2016 passengers volume was +20% over 2015 , and 2017 appears to be on track to become +25..30% over 2016.
    Ukraine in general is experiencing some sort of a boom in air travel nowadays. Overall first 6months in 2017 saw 35% increases in traffic vs first 6m of 2016.
    Direct flights to Russia were largely replaced with direct flights to Minsk (Belarus), some new low-cost carriers surfaced up (notably Ryanair wasn’t one of them) , 2nd tier airports are getting new flights and visa-free entry to EU (since June 2017) certainly helps as well.

  13. It was listed that the 777s were to be delivered from Asiana Airlines (the first aircraft’s future registration will be UR-GOA).

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